Thursday, June 21, 2018

CANNING AND PRESERVING INSPIRATION THURSDAY

Every Thursday we like to post a picture of something we've found online that inspires us to do something similar at the farm. Sort of our own blog bulletin board so that we can eventually look back and someday, hopefully anyway, recreate it...enjoy!


I was looking at an old flash drive and found these two photos.  These are the photos that originally got me interesting canning.  Well, let me rephrase that, my Grandmother got my interested in it, as their cellar looked much like this most of the time.  

These images I saved from online years ago (2007/2008?) because they made me realize what you could do with some hard work. Of course, we don't think the two of us would need this much, ha.


It was only after we bought the property and planted our garden that I started thinking of canning and actually started doing it.  We have been kept in jams and jellies for the last couple of years now by what I've done. Pickles didn't last long (i.e. we ate them all) but that's about the most I've done so far.

I had hoped to do more as the garden produced more but since we're keeping things small, we eat it all as fast as we harvest it. So lately we've been thinking of doing more canning by using veggies from the farmer's markets around the area.

Let someone else do all the growing work and we'll do the canning work!

Anyway, these photos really inspired me to want to have something like this and that in turn pushed our hunt for property and that pushed me to garden and well, so on and so on. 

Be inspired! 

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

FRESH TOMATO SAUCE PASTA RECIPE

After yesterday's sad post we needed to get back to something fun...


Last weekend we posted about the tomatoes and asked for some ideas.  Several of you suggested pasta.  2nd Man took your ideas and just made something up using what we had on hand. 


He diced up 4 of the tomatoes and pureed the rest. He also diced up 4 cloves of garlic  (not our own, YET, ha), and a pulled a few leaves of our fresh basil.


He started by sautéing the garlic in olive oil until it was softened and starting to turn golden...


Next he added pureed tomatoes, about 1 1/2 cups. Basically it's just a plain tomato sauce, you could certainly use a good quality from a can.  


Then he added chopped fresh basil and other seasonings as desired.  Salt, pepper, dried oregano etc.  He simmered all over low heat for about 10 minutes just to concentrate the flavors 


Then he removed the basil after cooking.  It was just in there long enough for the oils of the basil to add a burst of fresh basil flavor...


Add the diced tomatoes (about 2 cups total)...


And stir into sauce...


Boil 1lb of pasta (we used bucatini)...


Once cooked just pull the pasta from the water and put it into the sauce...


Toss to coat and serve.


Dish it up into bowls, top with some fresh shredded basil and enjoy.  The first tomatoes of the season.  YUM!  Thank you all for ideas!

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

SAD NEWS

We got some sad news from 2nd Family last night...


They lost Geraldine the baby goat last week.  "J" was vague on details because she said she wasn't ready to talk about it and we didn't want to push it of course.  Apparently she was sick and took a turn for the worse.  The vet came to the house but wasn't able to save her.  

They think she had a congenital defect that was undetected.  Perhaps that's the reason she was found abandoned, maybe Mama knew there was something  wrong and left her.  We'll never know. 

She was a "look at me" personality out there and we always stopped to visit when we could.  
We will all miss her...

 

Monday, June 18, 2018

FRUIT IS GONE

See yesterday's post if you missed it for the weekend update.

A few weeks ago we posted about putting up a possible DEER REPELLENT using soap sachets.  

Well, we can say that it was EPIC FAIL.

Sometime over the last week...


Deer ate all the pears off of this tree...


All the plums off of both plum trees...


And peaches/nectarines (i.e. mystery fruit) off of this tree.  We hope they enjoyed it whatever it was.


It wasn't birds because the fruit was completely gone.  Birds will just usually eat parts and/or leave the pits behind.  There were also a couple of incriminating tracks in the ground and a broken branch on one tree that had fruit up higher up.

It's not a terrible loss because this was more or less a test crop this season anyway and we just a few pieces of fruit growing.  The last two years we've removed blossoms to allow for root and tree growth.  This year though, we allowed some fruit to set.  Partially to see if it would (it did) and also to see if we'd have predator problems (we do).

So in a way it's a success because now we can learn from what happened and (hopefully) be prepared for next season to finally get a decent crop of fruit.


Damn deer.  Beautiful animals and we love to see them grazing in the fields around the house but stay away from our fruit trees.  


We're trying to think of a solution.  Since the boxes are 4' x 4' square, maybe just putting in tall poles, one on each corner, and then some sort of mesh screening/netting/fencing around each box would work..  Something similar to above...times 8, ha.  

Open to suggestions!

Sunday, June 17, 2018

WEEKEND WASHOUT

It's been a weekend to try to beat the weather...

Garden harvest
We had a great harvest this weekend:

20 banana peppers
14 tomatoes
8 jalapeños
2 cucumbers

The garden though is starting to struggle.  Not sure why.  Too much water?  Not enough?  Doing it remotely always makes it difficult finding the proper balance.  Maybe it just got too hot too soon.

The cucumbers, which about this time last year were starting to go crazy, well we're only getting a few per week.  Maybe they'll explode here soon?

The eggplants are getting eaten by ants.  Not sure how to fix that.

Drying garlic
Garlic still drying nicely. it shrinks a bit as it pulls inward during drying and sealing the head.  When this happens, the outer layer of paper (the part that has the dirt from the planting still on it) starts to come loose.  This one is a good example of the process.  Underneath, we will be left with heads of garlic that look like what you find in the store.


When I got to the farm, the sky was blue and partly cloudy...


...and here's the same angle later in the afternoon.  The weather was definitely starting to change.

I didn't have to mow at all.  In fact, it looked exactly the same as last week after I mowed because the ground is just so dry.  So we're OK with the rain, since we need it.

It's raining now and supposed to most of the day today.  So far though, it's gentle and starting/stopping so that's fine.

Vintage juice glasses
I found this in our storage a few months back and took the opportunity to wash it and clean it all up. Thought I'd share a picture.  It's a vintage set of juice glasses, with each glass having a different flower design on it.  The cool thing is that they all fit into this handy dandy metal carrier. 

Fresh baked bread
2nd Man decided that a rainy day is a good day to bake, so he's making some white bread.  A couple loaves, one for us to eat on for a few days and one for me to take to the office and share.  


To all the Dads out there, those who are here and those who are long gone, we love everything Dads do for us...

Saturday, June 16, 2018

WET WEATHER AHEAD

Off to the farm today but with an eye on the sky and the weather...


...there is a tropical disturbance heading our way.  They say it won't became a storm or even a depression but it is going to be a means to funnel a lot of Gulf moisture into our region in the form of heavy rains.  

The good news is it's spread over a few days.
The bad news it might be upwards of 6 inches.

It's supposed to start later today and then rain ALL day tomorrow and Monday and Tuesday.

2nd Man can't go out today, he is at work as there is a project they are in the middle of and need to get some more work done in case the weather keeps people home early in the week.

Probably won't have to mow but will need to check things, harvest some veggies, taking a few things out there and of course batten down the hatches just in case the weather takes a turn at the end.


More updates later, hope your weekend is off to a good start. 

Friday, June 15, 2018

BABY CHICKS

Stopped at the feed store the other day to get some fertilizer for the fruit trees and we noticed that it was that time of year...


They had two large galvanized tanks full of baby chicks running all around!


Is it wrong that for a brief moment, I wanted to just get in there with them and lay down while they crawled all over me?  Ha!

They are so adorable, that's for sure.  


Thursday, June 14, 2018

A DIFFERENT KIND OF WINDOW BOX INSPIRATION THURSDAY

Every Thursday we like to post a picture of something we've found online that inspires us to do something similar at the farm. Sort of our own blog bulletin board so that we can eventually look back and someday, hopefully anyway, recreate it...enjoy!


As we've said before on the blog, we really want some window boxes at the farm. My Grandmother had one, exactly one, ha, at her house and I always remember seeing it from the inside, bright flowers peeking through the curtains.  We've looked at various ideas online and we saw this one and really liked it.  It's a window box but not really a box.  Seems like it could be pretty easy to accomplish.  Wooden shelf, cut holes, clay pots, and brackets.  Add soil, flowers and water.  It's something that could work as we could switch the pots out and even move them around as needed.  


The house has all manner of windows that just cry out for a window box.  This is one end of the house, the first window the foyer and the other two the master bedroom sitting area.  

We had put the plans for boxes on hold until we had the exterior painted and done but I'm thinking now that sooner is better rather than later so we can start enjoying the color.  I might just try out something like the one earlier in the post, start simple until later when maybe we do something more substantial as a window box.  

Be inspired!

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

CAPRESE CRACKERS, TOMATOES BASIL AND MOZZARELLA


Remember weekend before last when we had this harvest (see above) with some not quite ripe tomatoes?  Per several suggestions, we put them in the window ledge at the apartment and by Friday...

Garden fresh tomatoes
...this is what those same four tomatoes looked like!  They were the most beautiful red color, even more vibrant than we see in the store!

We needed to use them fast so...


...I sliced a couple of them up, along with some fresh basil from our garden, and some mozzarella...

Caprese crackers
...and stacked them on water crackers, drizzled it all with olive oil and a nice, sweet, balsamic vinegar.  

They were SO good.

Tomato basil mozzarella on crackers
We each had a plate (with a few extra for seconds) and it made for a nice dinner, actually very filling.



Monday, June 11, 2018

BEAUTIFUL VEGGIES HOT AND WET WEEKEND

Look!


We might not have purposely planted color but we do have nature made color in various spots around the property.  Beauty is where you find it!


It was a good day Saturday as I got to spend time on the Zen Machine (this GIF cracks me up).  I mowed everything.  Last weekend I edged so the result is a neat yard...at least for a week or two!  

Honestly I could have skipped mowing since we didn't have much rain over the last couple of weeks, but I figured it was better to go ahead and do that just in case we did get rain and it suddenly started growing again.

And speaking of...


....just after I finished mowing and was relaxing on the porch, I heard thunder.  I had to run around and close up the barn and shed and put stuff in the car just in case it was a monsoon.

It wasn't a monsoon but a steady rain for about 30 minutes or so.  Then it was cooler for a bit.


I was able to check the garlic and it's drying nicely, right on schedule.  I picked one and went ahead and peeled off some of the outer dried dirt layers to see what was going on underneath.  It looks like garlic from the store!  We're excited for this part of our journey in learning how to do things at the farm.

And speaking of...


...check this out!
Our harvest for the weekend!  

2 Asian eggplant
3 cucumbers
1 yellow squash
8 banana peppers
16 tomatoes (!)

OK, so it's not huge but it's not bad either, especially for once a week "remote gardening", ha.  The most tomatoes we've ever been able to get from the garden.  Still quite a few nice size green ones as well.  We're trying to pull a few just as they start to turn so we can ripen them here.  Now we need to figure out a use for these before they get TOO ripe.  Maybe a small batch of tomato sauce canning?  Oven roasted and saved in olive oil?  Suggestions?   

We're chopping up most of the banana peppers and freezing them, holding them until we have enough for a batch of banana pepper mustard.  

Cukes haven't started producing in numbers needed for pickles so these we're just slicing and eating as we get them.

The squash will end up in a stir fry this week and the eggplant will end up in a pasta sauce.

Then we'll see what we get next weekend!